The Beach Boys-Nashville Sounds: The Making of Stars and Stripes (1996)

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Released 4-Nov-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Review
Featurette-Guest List (with commentary) (13)
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 57:10 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan Boyd
Steven R. Monroe
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Brian Wilson
Carl Wilson
Al Jardine
Mike Love
Willie Nelson
Tammy Wynette
James House
Toby Keith
Lorrie Morgan
Bruce Johnston
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Wilson
Mike Love


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When original Beach Boy and, let's face it, the man really responsible for their success, Brian Wilson, finally reunited with the rest of the group in 1996 after leaving them ten years before, they came together to record what was essentially a tribute album to themselves, an interesting concept that probably didn't get the recognition it deserved at the time. Combining the musical style of surf, sand, cars, and girls that is really quite unique to The Beach Boys and the USA with the other great American musical genre, Country Music, was quite ambitious. As Beach Boy Mike Love says, it was about bringing "a whole new life and new personality" to their classic songs. The album was Stars and Stripes Vol.1 (there never was, or is ever likely to be a Vol.2) and saw several respected, well-known and not so well-known country music stars pick a classic Beach Boys track and re-record it with their own interpretation and influence with the original Beach Boys harmonising (minus Dennis Wilson who died in 1983).

    This disc documents the making of that album. As such, it features most of the tracks from the album (missing is Ricky Van Shelton's Fun, Fun, Fun), but not all are presented in their entirety. In fact, to call this a music disc is a bit misleading. It really is more of a documentary with trimmed-down performances of all the songs contained between the members of the band and their various guests discussing the project. The only two songs that are played in full are the two live performances from the 1996 Country Music Fan Fair, these being Do It Again and Barbara-Ann (the latter is strangely not listed on the packaging). It is really a behind-the-scenes look at the actual recording of each song and features interview segments with the Beach Boys and some of their various guests including Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, James House, Lorrie Morgan, and Timothy B. Schmit from The Eagles. The songs themselves will not appeal to everybody, and I can well imagine many a die-hard Beach Boys fan being quite disturbed by some of the renditions here, but with the original band providing harmonies, there is still a real Beach Boys feel to all of them. There are a couple of highlights, including 409 by Junior Brown, and Little Deuce Coupe by James House. Willie Nelson's sublime effort on Warmth Of The Sun lifts the song to new heights with his gravelly voice out-doing anything Mike Love could provide. Unfortunately, almost all the songs are cut short and you just can't enjoy them to their fullest.

    Interestingly, the recording sessions for 'Stars & Stripes Vol.1' would be the last time that the remaining members of the band recorded together on a Beach Boys album.

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Track Listing

1. Don't Worry Baby
2. Warmth Of The Sun
3. Little Deuce Coupe
4. Sail On Sailor
5. Caroline, No
6. 409
7. Sloop John B
8. Long Tall Texan
9. I Get Around
10. Be True To Your School
11. Help Me Rhonda
12. In My Room
13. I Can Hear Music
14. Do It Again
15. Barbara-Ann

Transfer Quality

Video

    Not the greatest video transfer of all time is on offer here, with several minor problems and a definite fuzzy analogue look to the whole thing.

    The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I would assume that this is the original aspect and as a result it is not 16x9 enhanced. As mentioned above, this isn't the sharpest image I've seen, being quite soft and fuzzy throughout almost the entire programme. There is almost constant grain that ranges from obvious to downright annoying. During the stage performances early on (most notable on track 1 Don't Worry Baby) it is at its worst, dominating the entire background of the image, and this is in addition to some substantial low level noise which is also evident.

    Colours are quite muted, not helped by the excessive grain. The live performances at the end of the disc are particularly washed out and quite uninspiring.

    I saw no MPEG artefacts. The transfer isn't really sharp enough for things like aliasing to pop up. Thankfully there are few other video artefacts.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles available on this disc.

    This is a single layered disc only, so there is no layer change to navigate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two audio soundtracks to choose from. They are both Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. One is the main soundtrack for the program, the other is an audio commentary track that is almost identical to the main track apart from a few brief comments that are thrown in near the commencement of each artist's track. Despite the 5.1 tag, neither of these tracks exhibit much in the way of separation across the front and there is virtually no surround channel use. Even the centre channel receives so very little use you'd almost think this was a stereo 2.0 soundtrack in disguise.

    Thankfully, the vocals (and in particular the renowned Beach Boys harmonies), are rather good and despite being limited to the same channels as the music are not overshadowed in any way. There are no apparent audio sync problems.

    The music of course needs little introduction. There are plenty of classic Beach Boys songs, though the Country interpretations may not suit all.

    The subwoofer sees a little action, though not really enough to notice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

Featurette - Review

    A 5:35 minute monologue from music critic and writer Sylvie Simmons. She's standing alone in a recording studio and prattles on about the album Stars and Stripes Vol 1, how The Beach Boys decided to tackle the project and how the various artists came to be involved. It's fairly obvious that the audio commentary that she provides during the program has simply been lifted directly from this monologue.

Featurette - Guest List

    This is simply a static menu screen that allows you to instantly switch to the chapter that features a particular guest artist. The audio commentary is also switched on by default when the tracks are selected from here.

Audio Commentary - Sylvie Simmons

    Not a full length audio commentary in the traditional sense. This is simply a brief (and I mean brief - a couple of sentences per artist) introduction to each of the songs. Sylvie Simmons discusses each of the guest country artists and talks about their interpretation of the song. Too brief, and you've really got to look hard to actually find each snippet of audio as they are not all consistent in their placement.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Reliable information is hard to come by for this title. From what I can gather from Amazon.com, the Region 1 title is identical in video terms to the Region 4 but has a PCM 2.0 soundtrack in place of the Dolby Digital 5.1 effort and does not have the audio commentary track. I'd have to recommend the local disc as the version of choice based on that information.

Summary

    The Beach Boys - Nashville Sounds: The Making Of Stars And Stripes is a somewhat bemusing disc. To call this a music DVD is a bit of a misnomer and providing a track listing as such almost feels like misleading advertising . It is more of a documentary with several not-quite-complete songs scattered throughout. There are only two full length songs featured from the Country Music Fan Fair at the end of the program (and one of these doesn't even make it onto the packaging!).

    The video quality is rather ordinary, with a dated soft and fuzzy look to the whole thing. There are huge amounts of grain and even some low level noise during some of the tracks.

    The audio, despite featuring 5.1 mixing, is rather lacklustre, with virtually no rear or centre channel use. It is effectively a stereo 2.0 track.

    The extras are quite minimal and really do not add much to the overall package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, December 06, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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